Volkswagen e-Golf and Golf R Concepts Preview Self-Parking, Gesture Controls

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Originally posted on CleanTechnica

While voice controls were once thought to be the replacement for buttons and knobs on automotive infotainment system, it may actually be gesture controls that finally make manual operations obsolete. The Volkswagen Golf R Touch Concept is loaded with the automaker’s latest and greatest infotainment features, while a new e-Golf concept previews wireless charging and semi-autonomous driving features.

Taking a 296 horsepower Golf R and loading it with all sorts of techie goodness, .including gesture controls and three gigantic display screens is definitely one way to get attention at the Consumer Electronics Show. Though the thought of adding gesture controls to cars is nothing new, Volkswagen is one of the first automaker to actually roll out a working concept. Xbox and Playstation owners have enjoyed (for the most part) gesture controls for years now, and one of my personal favorite features is “swiping” between songs on radio stations. Bringing that sort of control in car to allow one to change the music, adjust the HVAC system, and add a new waypoint to the navigation system without ever taking your eyes off the road.

…then Volkswagen went and added three huge display screens, a monster 12.8 inch unit in the center with another 8-inch screen below it. Then there’s the customizable 12.3 inch screen that serves as the instrument panel, making for over 32 inches of potential distractions. Volkswagen says the screens can be turned off, but there seems to be a mixed message here. If anything, engineers are overcompensating for the excellent 17-inch touchscreen in the Tesla Model S that many reviewers laud.

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That’s less true of the latest e-Golf concept, which uses inductive charging to refill without a plug and the Trained Parking system, which scans the route to a parking spot and can they replicate that route semi-autonomously. Volkswagen reps imagine a future where this can be done without a driver even in the car, allowing EVs like the e-Golf to park themselves at a wireless docking station to refill without ever inconveniencing the driver. A smartphone app lets you recall the car, as well as monitor the charging level while you shop, work, or just live. As cool as the Tesla wall-snake charger might be, inductive charging makes a lot more sense from a consumer point of view, and Volkswagen is just the latest German automaker to pursue it.

Gesture controls, huge display screens, semi-autonomous parking, and inductive charging are just a few of the high-tech features Volkswagen wants to introduce to automobiles in the coming years. I say bring it on.

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Christopher DeMorro

A writer and gearhead who loves all things automotive, from hybrids to HEMIs, can be found wrenching or writing- or else, he's running, because he's one of those crazy people who gets enjoyment from running insane distances.